In the Rules section of next month’s Discovery Bay CC Newsletter I will be writing about Rule 7, “Practice”. I’ll outline how it differs in stroke play and match play, and where can you make a practice stroke during a round. I will send you all a copy of this article in a couple of days.
As Shelly, our Handicap chair, recently correctly reminded us, post all your scores and make sure your scores are accurate.
However, I have been recently asked by some of our members, “Am I allowed to play a round of golf just for practice? What if I want to hit more than one ball on a hole, or try putting over again?” It would be scary to believe that players are not allowed to practice on their course. How better to learn how to play our course than trying different shots, especially in troublesome areas of the course, so we can improve our game.
The USGA Handicap System covers rounds which are not played under the Rules of Golf in section 5-1e (vii) and “Practice during a Round” is covered in Rule 7-2. If you hit two balls by trying different clubs from the same distance, or re try a missed putt to check the read you saw, you are obviously not playing under the Rules!
Here is a recent quote on this subject from the WGANC Ambassadors’ blog.
“The USGA Handicap System” and the Rules of Golf do not define a practice round and do not address declaring such prior to beginning play of a stipulated round. A basic premise of the “USGA Handicap System” is every player will try to make the best score on each hole in every round, and will accurately post every acceptable score. There are few exceptions in which a score should not be posted. When a player does not play a majority of the holes under the principles of the Rules of Golf, a score cannot be posted. An example is playing two balls on some holes. At any rate, it is unanimous that one should not declare a practice round after 4 or 5 holes.”
Many Rules’ experts and golf professionals believe players should be encouraged, and is acceptable, to play practice rounds. If you want to play a practice round make sure you are not delaying play, or more especially, interfering with your fellow players’ games that are not practicing. Tell your fellow players early in your game this is what you are doing, and do not post those scores as they are not played by the Rules.
All our Men’s club scores are audited by their Handicap committee, and when they play practice rounds they submit their scorecards with “practice” written on them.
Do not forget that Shelly very expertly said post your scores accurately whenever you play. However, don’t be scared to play a practice round sometimes. Practice on the range is excellent, practicing real play situations can be better! Just do it occasionally and at the appropriate time.
We are recreational golfers and need to improve our games and have fun at the same time. Practice, wherever it is, can make us perfect!
I hope this helps you.